Weather Meteogram.

I think I have finally found an iOS Weather app that I truly enjoy. It’s beautiful to look at, it provides a lot of information at a glance, and it appears to be quite accurate. Weather Meteogram uses Dark Sky for weather data, but it presents it in a much improved interface. If you’re looking for a new weather app experience on iOS, take a look at Weather Meteogram.

Here’s a link to the app store.

Still Pumped.

I mentioned a while back that I had started rewatching “Star Trek: Voyager” from the very beginning of the series. Today I watched my daily episode; I’m in the middle of Season 4. I’m still thoroughly enjoying rewatching the show and Janeway is still my favorite captain of the entire franchise.

The “Star Trek: Picard” trailer came up in my Youtube video suggestions again this evening so I watched it again. I am still getting goosebumps when Voyager’s Seven of Nine (played by Jeri Ryan) appears on the screen.

I’ve never been able to stomach “Star Trek: Discovery”, but “Picard” has enough familiar elements hinted in the trailer and press I’ve seen thus far that I’m already budgeting for CBS All Access when this series is released.

I just have a feeling it’s going to be awesome.

Reading ahead a chapter or two and it looks like Riker and Deanna Troi are also going to be in the new series this season and there’s talk of Voyager’s Doctor appearing in the second season.

Is there a small possibility that we’ll see Kate Mulgrew’s Admiral Janeway as well? I really, really hope so.

Potential Boom.

Last week, Apple announced a recall for a specific model of their MacBook Pro line. In line with this recall was an FAA announcement that this certain model of MacBook Pro would not be allowed on passenger and cargo flights, much like the Samsung Galaxy Note a year or two ago. It seems there was an issue with the battery and a concern that the computer would catch on fire or explode, especially with the variable pressure encountered during airline flights. I paid little attention to this announcement other than surprise that an Apple device would be in company with the likes of something made by Samsung. I figured the recall affected a small handful of computers and Apple would carry out the battery replacement program, some pundits would gripe, and that would be that. I felt slight disappointment in the creeping mediocrity Apple has demonstrated over the past couple of years, but I wasn’t super surprised.

Well it turns out the recall affects the last version of the 15-inch 2015 MacBook Pro (the late 2015 model). Not really knowing the specifics of the recall until this morning, I was a little surprised when I ran across another news release and realized my beloved laptop could be part of the chosen pack; an entry of the serial number in Apple’s informational webpage confirmed my suspicions.

Apparently my MacBook Pro could explode or catch fire at any moment. The website advised to stop using it immediately and arrange for the recall. The issue is, I’ll be without my computer for two or so weeks, because they have to be shipped by ground, since they’re banned from flying.

Honestly, my MacBook Pro has flown thousands of miles over the past four years.

Now I’m a little ticked. If Apple went ahead and allowed for batteries that could be swapped out this wouldn’t be an issue. But the battery (or batteries, I’m not sure) are soldered into the motherboard and so the whole computer has to be ripped apart by a qualified technician.

On the bright side, I’ll have a new battery in my computer which was just starting to show signs of battery fatigue. On the not so bright side, I’m going to be without my MacBook Pro for a while.

My question is, will the FAA allow my computer on a flight after the repair has been made? Is there going to be some sort of little sticker that indicates a battery repair?

We can’t afford a new computer at this time. I’m going to just get this one fixed and hope for the best.

I hope it doesn’t explode in the meanwhile.

Responsible Tech.

Apple has stopped human monitoring of Siri interactions worldwide. When it was discovered that sensitive information was being pulled into the transcripts, Apple did the responsible thing and ceased the human monitoring of these transcripts. A future release of iOS and Mac OS will include the ability to opt out of this monitoring feature.

At no time was your Apple ID included with the transcript.

More from CNN.

Bliss.

I’ve rediscovered my bliss: sitting on the balcony, a nice summer breeze filling the air, and a good book to enjoy.

This is how we grow.

Picard.

The second trailer for early 2020’s “Star Trek: Picard” dropped earlier this week and like the classic “80s/90s” Trekker I am, a tear or two formed in my eye when I watched it.

I think I’ve been convinced to get a CBS All Access pass when this comes out early next year. It has a classic-Star Trek vibe, and there were some surprises in the trailer that made me really excited about this upcoming series.

See for yourself. Link to YouTube above.

(I’m crossing my fingers for an appearance from my gal Admiral Janeway sometime during the show).

Addendum: Watching the trailer again, I’m more excited about “Star Trek: Picard” than I have ever been for Enterprise or Discovery. Maybe I don’t speak for all Trekkers, but this is what I’ve been waiting for.

HomeKit, Part 3.

So the conversion to all HomeKit for our Home Automation system continues. The outlier continues to be a Google Home Hub in the kitchen, as Earl uses it for recipe guidance and an occasional YouTube video, but he’s indicated this is simply a luxury right now and he wouldn’t mind if I sold it.

I replaced our two Smart Outlet Plugs with devices that were suppose to be compatible with HomeKit/Siri, Google, and Alexa. I was able to configure them for HomeKit without an issue, which was my plan all along. But getting them to join the Google network has been trickier. I’ve reached out to the manufacturer, VOCOLinc, for assistance, but this has not proven to be fruitful. Since the Google and Alexa integration is a secondary need I’m not pursuing it further, however, I can say these VOCOLinc plugs do work very well on HomeKit. They have both been rock solid.

The HomePod in our Dining Room had a bit of a fit last weekend and forgot about all the devices in the house. Siri would respond to requests for whole rooms to be turned on and off, but it wouldn’t control a specific device, even though we were able to without an issue with Siri on our phones and by using the Home app on iOS and/or our Macs. I restarted the HomePod but that didn’t help the situation; Siri just started behaving normally again after a couple of hours. I don’t know if there was an Internet issue or something else, but Apple constantly has our devices talking to each other in the background, perhaps they just had to have an extra chat.

Today I installed a Lutron Decora Smart Dimmer Switch to control the lights over our breakfast bar. Switches normally need two wires, the hot from the panel and the hot subsequently going to the lamp, as the switch is just turning this leg of the circuit on and off. But smart switches need to be powered as if they were plugged into a wall outlet, so the Smart Dimmer Switch also needed to access the Neutral wire. Luckily, modern homes have the neutral wire where it needs to be, but older homes didn’t follow such standards and there’s a good chance you won’t have a neutral wire in your switch box. I was able to tap the neutral wire without an issue, though, and the setup of the switch was flawless. I love the way it looks and acts.

I’m very interested in the smart control panels by Brilliant Control, which are designed to replace up to four light switches in a wall box. The interface looks good, the idea behind it is awesome, and it would give us the high-tech approach I’m striving for in our home. The issue is they don’t make a HomeKit version at the moment, but according to Brilliant Control it’s in the works. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

I am making progress with this ongoing project and I’d say I’m around 90% pleased with the results thus far. Earl has remarked that he doesn’t miss Alexa at all and he’s happy with having one “system”, so that mission is accomplished.

iPadOS Beta 3.

After hearing Apple had released Public Beta 3 of their latest version of iOS/iPadOS, and doing some reading on the stability of this beta, I’ve gone ahead and installed it on my iPad Pro.

I’m really liking what Apple is offering in iOS 13 and iPadOS.

Cosmetically, Dark Mode is gorgeous. This is dark mode done right, and it is a welcome relief to my eyes. One of the reasons I prefer to use a Mac at work is because of Dark Mode offered in Mac OS. It’s a lot easier on my eyes while staring at the screen for too many hours in the day. Windows 10 offers a Dark Mode but it is uneven at best and many of the apps just turn gray; Mac OS and now iOS/iPadOS turn much darker.

Performance of Beta 3 seems to be great, though I’ve been messing with it for only an hour or so. I briefly had Beta 2 on an older iPad and that was an unmitigated mess, this is much better and it feels like Apple Developers are making great progress on getting iOS 13 ready and stable for the assumed release in September.

I’m still trying to get into using my iPad Pro as my primary computer; I believe computing needs to be taken to the next level and tablets are going to be the way of the future. I’m eager to see where development from all players in the game take this next step. Maybe Apple will be the leader, maybe they won’t. Only time will tell.

Right now, I’d say they’re headed in the right direction.

Time.

At the beginning of next month Earl and I will have lived here in Chicago for two years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long as it feels like it was only yesterday when we moved here.

As an “all things connected geek”, I had an old school clock system wired through the old house back in Upstate New York. When we moved we decided not to do the same here in our condo; the old clocks were loud when they advanced each minute and as we aged we didn’t find as much whimsy in the experience of having these antique timepieces on the wall. I donated several of the clocks to the historical society in my hometown, I gave others to friends and family. I thought about converting the remaining clocks to quartz mechanisms, but I’d rather have clocks that are perfectly in sync with the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) because I’m precise like that.

Enter our atomic clocks.

I’m on the search for clocks that have a “retro” look to them, and the first of the clocks was installed last night. Made by La Crosse Technology, the clock synchronized itself while we were sleeping last night. It’s keeping perfect time and it shows accurate time to the second.

I am a happy geek.